A haunting novel from the author of The Weight of Blood about a young woman's return to her childhood home -- and her encounter with the memories and family secrets it holds
Arrowood is the most ornate and grand of the historical houses that line the Mississippi River in southern Iowa. But the house has a mystery it has never revealed: It's where Arden Arrowood's younger twin sisters vanished on her watch twenty years ago -- never to be seen again. After the twins' disappearance, Arden's parents divorced and the Arrowoods left the big house that had been in their family for generations. And Arden's own life has fallen apart: She can't finish her master's thesis, and a misguided love affair has ended badly. She has held on to the hope that her sisters are still alive, and it seems she can't move forward until she finds them. When her father dies and she inherits Arrowood, Arden returns to her childhood home determined to discover what really happened to her sisters that traumatic summer.
Arden's return to the town of Keokuk -- and the now infamous house that bears her name -- is greeted with curiosity. But she is welcomed back by her old neighbor and first love, Ben Ferris, whose family, she slowly learns, knows more about the Arrowoods' secrets and their small, closed community than she ever realized. With the help of a young amateur investigator, Arden tracks down the man who was the prime suspect in the kidnapping. But the house and the surrounding town hold their secrets close -- and the truth, when Arden finds it, is more devastating than she ever could have imagined.
Arrowood is a powerful and resonant novel that examines the ways in which our lives are shaped by memory. As with her award-winning debut novel, The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh has written a thrilling novel in which nothing is as it seems, and in which our longing for the past can take hold of the present in insidious and haunting ways.
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I had been looking forward to read this recommended book, but I was slightly disappointed. I just didn't find that it flowed and I had figured out most of the mystery about a third of the way through. Maybe it was the characters that just didn't work for me. They weren't realistically portrayed, and I disliked the main character because she couldn't seem to follow through on anything she started. The book kind of moved along in the same disjointed way as the plot seemed to skip from one scene to another. The last part of the book was better than the first part, so that is why I gave it 3 1/2 instead of 3. The story is about young Arden Arrowood returning home to her anscestral family home after her father passes away suddenly. Arden and her mother and father had left the small town after Arden's two twin sisters disappeared when they were just under two year's old. Arden has never been able to move past the disappearance which happened when she was 8 years old. That's probably why she hasn't been able to move on with her life and explains all her unfinished plans and mistakes she has made in the interveing years. She tries to find out what happens to her sisters and uncovers a bunch of family and neighbourhood secrets that put her life in danger. The truth, when it is finally revealed, rocks her world.